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NASA: Space Launch System’s 1st Exploration Mission Remains on Track for Fall 2018

SLSNASA has reiterated it remains on track to launch the first Space Launch System mission in fall 2018 even with the delayed delivery of the Orion spacecraft’s service module, Space News reported Tuesday.

NASA officials said in a NASA Advisory Council human exploration and operations committee meeting in Cleveland the space agency is on schedule with the development of various components for the launch vehicle, spacecraft and ground systems for Exploration Mission 1, Jeff Foust writes.

“We believe we can still make the launch window of between September and November of 2018, and we’re still working towards that,” Bill Hill, deputy associate administrator for exploration systems development, told the committee, according to the report.

Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for human exploration and operations, said the transfer of the Orion service module from the European Space Agency to NASA has been postponed from January to April 2017 following discovery of some technical issues, Foust reports.

The report said Gerstenmaier and Hill noted that EM-1 could face other challenges in the course of launch preparations, such as during assembly of the various SLS components and funding for the program next year.

Lockheed Martin leads the development of Orion, which is designed to carry humans for deep space exploration.

Boeing oversees the design and production of the launch vehicle cryogenic stages and avionics suite for SLS.

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